Skip to main content

Full text of "The evolution of worlds from nebulae"

See other formats






®|aiiftB^2^lijn|rig§l !f a. 






BY ^ 


Who formed the countless worlds on high, 

Who gave to them their speed, 
Who keeps them all within their bounds, 

Who guides each fiery steed; 
Who plans for them their distances, 

Moves them in mighty space, 
Revealing wisdom and not chance ; — 

Whose hand but God's there trace ? 
For what seems chance at simple gaze 

The impress bears of thought, 
When studied close in all their ways 

Worlds cannot spring from naught. 





I^EE Parker Dean. 







L. P. D. 


The author sends out this little book feeling 


seen Hand that evolved and still controls the 
universe he will be amply rewarded. 

L. p. D. 
Bridgeport, June, 1894. 



The theory of , world-formation as conceived by the 
Nebular hypothesis has been briefly stated by Dr. H. W. 
Warren in the following words : " All the matter compos- 
ing all the bodies of the sun, planets, and their satellites, 
once existed in an exceedingly diffused state ; rarer than 
any gas with which we are acquainted, filling a space 
larger than the orbit of Neptune. Gravitation gradually 
contracted this matter into a condensing globe of immense 
extent. Some parts would naturally be denser than others, 
and in the course of contraction a rotary motion, it is 
affirmed, would be engendered. Rotation would flatten 
the globe somewhat in the line of its axis. 

Contracting still more, the rarer gases, aided by centri- 
fugal force, would be left behind as a ring that would 
ultimately be separated, like Saturn's ring, from the re- 
treating body. There would naturally be some places in 
this ring denser than others ; these would gradually absorb 
all the ring into a planet, and still revolve about the cen- 
tral mass, and still rotate on its own axis, throwing off 
rings from itself. 


Thus the planet Neptune would be left behind in the 
first sun-ring, to make its one moon ; the planet Uranus 
left in the next sun-ring ; and so on down to Mercury. 
The outer planets would cool off first, become habitable, 
and, as the sun contracted and they radiated their own 
heat, become refrigerated and left behind by the retreat- 
ing sun. The four great classes of facts confirmatory of 
this hypothesis are as follows : ist. All the planets move 
in the same direction and nearly in the same plane, as if 
thrown off from one equator ; 2d. The motions of the 
satellites about their primaries are mostly in the same 
direction as that of their primaries about the sun ; 3d. 
The rotation of most of these bodies on their axes, and 
also of the sun, is in the same direction as the motion of 
the planets about the sun ; 4th. The orbits of the planets, 
excluding asteroids, and their satellites, have but a com- 
paratively small eccentricity ; 5th. Certain nebulae are 
observable which are not yet condensed into solids, but 
are still bright gas." * 

The nebular hypothesis above stated was advanced by 
astronomers early in the eighteenth century, and later 
established by Laplace on a mathematical basis, who at 
the same time advocated the theory as materialistic. It 
is accepted quite generally by astronomers at the present 
day, though in a greatly modified form ; for there are 
many difiiculties in the way of a full belief of the theory. 
Sir Robert Ball in a late work says of Herschel's belief of 
the transmutation of nebulae into stars ; " To establish 

* Warren. " Recreations in Astronomy," p. 182. 


this theory it would be necessary to watch the actual con- 
densation of one single nebula from the primative gaseous 
condition down to the stellar points. It may easily be 
conceived that such a process would require a vast lapse of 
time, perhaps enormously greater than the period between 
the invention of the telescope and the present moment. 
It may at all events be confidently asserted that this con- 
densation of a nebula into a star is a process which has 
never been witnessed." .Concerning the theory of Laplace 
he tells us that it is "almost incapable of receiving any 
direct testimony ;" and gives as the verdict of science, the 
words of Newcomb ; " At the present time the nebular 
hypothesis is only indicated by the general tendencies of 
the laws of nature." 

According to this theory, — if all the planets are of the 
same substance as the earth on which we live, and of the 
greater sun from which they have ages since been sepa- 
rated, — there must once have been material heavy as rock 
and earth after condensation, filling the space around our 
sun in every direction for 3,000 millions of miles. If we 
could learn how this material of fire-mist originated we 
could better understand the mystery of world-making. A 
theory that would explain the formation of our own solar 
system should explain the formation of all the suns in 
space, a state of fire-mist for one implying the same for 
all. Let us consider whether there may not be other ex- 
planations of the phenomena in question fully as credible 
as the one given, and quite as consistent with all the 
known laws of nature. 



I St. Expansion. It is supposed by the nebular hypo- 
thesis that the planets were all formed from rings of con- 
densing vapor thrown off from a contracting sun which 
once filled space to, and beyond, Neptune's distance. Let 
us imagine them again expanded to a like dimension, or 
even greater, reaching half way to the next nearest sun, 
Alpha Centauri, whose distance from our sun is com- 
puted as about twenty trillions of miles. Assuming this to 
be the true distance there could be placed between the 
two stars fifteen septillions of suns, each with a diameter 
of 800 thousand miles. Were it possible to expand the 
earth a million and a quarter times its present size, that 
is as large as the sun now is, it would then be but one 
fifteen-septillionth the size necessary to fill the space 
between the sun and Alpha Centauri. What we know of 
earth, air, water, rocks, and the metals would not lead us 
to suppose that these substances could be increased by 
expansion even a million of times. Could there be such 
an expansion they would then exist as mere atomic par- 
ticles of dust incapable of holding heat with the outside 
element space 300° below zero. Nearly all known sub- 
stances expand on being heated, though not often to any 
great extent ; as, for example, iron and the metals. But 


anything that is greatly expanded cools rapidly. Then 
may we suppose that earth to-day could be expanded into 
a body large enough to fill the great space it must once 
have occupied in the state of fire-mist claimed for it ? 
or, if thus expanded, that it would take one year, or even 
one day, to cool such a body ? 

We have seen thus how improbable it is that the earth 
could be expanded to fill the space it must once have 
occupied according to the nebular theory ; and as we 
imagine the denser any volume is the more it will expand 
can we suppose the other planets, with a volume thous- 
ands of times greater than that of earth but a density not 
averaging one-fourth as much, will expand to a greater 
degree ? Were they all ground to the finest dust, even 
like the atoms we detect floating in the sunbeams, they 
would no more than fill a globe, with the sun for its centre, 
whose circumference reached out to Neptune. 

2d. Contraction. It is thought by many that the sun 
obtains its heat by the contraction of its diameter, and 
that at the rate of two hundred and twenty feet per year, 
or four miles a century. Before contraction, then, both 
the sun and the earth must have been much larger and 
consequently nearer each other than they are as seen 
to-day. If the sun's diameter contracts four miles during 
a century, to increase its size so as to carry it out to Nep- 
tune, 3,000 millions of miles distant, would take 1500 
million centuries. But that the sun thus receives its heat 
is a supposition ; for how can any one tell that it contracts 
each century two miles on its radius, when a second repre- 


sents four hundred and fifty miles, and two miles would 
be but one-two hundred and fiftieth part of a second? 

Should the earth be cooling by expending more heat than 
it receives, as some claim, it should contract from the loss 
of heat as well as the sun. But if earth does thus contract 
it must be smaller than formerly, the sun must have less 
hold upon it, and with a varying gravitation, must lose its 
delicate balance.' Yet what proof have we that earth is 
to-day smaller than it was two thousand years ago ? 

Further, we find that the more a body contracts the 
faster it revolves. The sun now revolves in twenty-five 
days, but when eight million times larger and extended 
out as far as earth, it must have revolved very slowly ; 
hence with a slow revolution, and at the same time having 
only four cubic rods of hard substance out of every 
thirty-three millions of cubic rods, or one cubic mile, — 
for earth has contracted to one eight-millionth part of the 
size it then was, — why did not the rocky substance settle 
to the sun's centre instead of being thrown off to form 
earth, especially as the sun's gravitation was so great at 
its surface ? 

Professor Ball tells us that in gaseous bodies the loss 
of heat involves a corresponding contraction of the 
volume, attended with a rise of temperature. To 
quote his words : " As the temperature of the mass in- 
creases the rate at which it parts with heat also increases. 

I " I/aplace has given us proof that the period of the earth's axial rotation 
has not changed i-ioo of a second of time in two thousand years." 

Warren. "Recreations in Astronomy," p. 145. 


The contraction of the volume will proceed at an accel- 
erated pace, and the temperature rise with increasing rapid- 
ity. Though the temperature of the gas may at first have 
been extremely low it will gradually rise until it becomes 
sufficiently high to render the gas visible by actual incan- 
descence. As the process advances still further the body 
may pass from a mere nebula into a star-like object. With 
increase of contraction the pressure also increases and 
materials which were originally gaseous will assume more 
and more a density resembling that of solid bodies." He 
says further that should the sun contract into a globe less 
its present size by one ten-thousandth part of its diameter 
it would amount to a shrinkage in its diameter of 87 miles. 
" But," he continues, " on so mighty a globe this alteration 
is relatively insignificant ; indeed no measurements that 
could be made at our observatories would be sufficiently 
delicate to detect a change of this magnitude. Helmholtz 
has, however, shown that if the sun were to undergo even 
this small diminution of volume the quantity of heat that 
would be thereby liberated for the purposes of radiation 
would supply the sun's current rate of expenditure for 
nearly 2000 years. We have no means of knowing at 
present whether the actual contraction of the sun takes 
place at this rate or any other rate." ^ 

Thus we see astronomers admit that a contraction of 
merely four miles of the sun's diameter would be sufficient 
to supply its heat for a century, while a contraction of 87 
miles, or yo-.Vfo P^^^ ^'^ ^^^ diameter, would give to it heat 

1 Ball. "In starry Realms," p. 31. 


for twenty centuries, were the sun gaseous. This being 
the case how is it possible to detect in this century, with a 
contraction of but four miles, whether the sun is growing 
either larger or smaller, or in any wise changing its volume ? 
When its diameter was twice as large as now it must 
have been so much cooler that it moved more slowly and 
radiated less heat. With a diameter of lo millions of 
miles, of loo, i,ooo, 3,000, or 6,000 millions of miles even, 
and the sun then more years than it is now days in turning, 
can we suppose that it revolved swiftly enough to throw 
off rings ; or, with a surface so expanded, was possessed 
of heat to any great amount ? These are thoughts that 
should be carefully considered in looking at the theory of 
the formation of worlds from nebulae ; for any explana- 
tions concerning the existence of a fire-mist so extensive 
as to reach Neptune's bounds are of no small considera- 
tion, and should be open to careful scrutiny before 
absolute acceptance. 



ist. Density. The sun's density is one-fourth that of 
earth, while Mercury's is one-fifth greater than earth's, 
showing that Mercury's substance must be more than five 
times denser than the sun's, whereas it is not 36,000,000 
miles distant from it ; so near, in fact, and so recently 
thrown off from the sun as to be thought that human 
beings could not live upon it. Why is it that this dense 
substance did not, while a portion of the sun, sink to 
its centre ? 

It might be said that on cooling, after being thrown 
from the sun, the body became more and more dense, the 
same as is said of earth. But if so why is it that Neptune, 
seventy-five times farther from the sun, has a density only 
one-fifth that of earth, and Uranus but a little more ; 
while Jupiter's density is less than the sun's, and Saturn's 
not even one-seventh that of earth ? All of these planets 
lie in an immensely cold and far away region and were 
thrown off by the sun, if at all, many years before Mer- 
cury, and, according to the supposed theory, should be 
cold bodies. 

C_Some think, with apparent show of reason, that before 
planet-making began the heavier materials of the general 
mass had gravitated toward the centre, while the lighter 


substances remained near the surface. " If so," to quote 
the words of Prof. Winchell, " the first planets separated 
would contain more of the substances which, at tempera- 
tures familiar to us, make gases and water. Similarly, 
the later planets disengaged would acquire a large pro- 
portion of the substances which form solid rocks. In the 
case of the earth we may suppose that the greater part 
was rock-making material, since the earth's specific 
gravity is so high ; but watery stuff in sufficient amount to 
provide for oceans and rains, went off with the rock- 
material, and with these, the lighter stuff for an atmos- 
phere. But in the case of Venus, most of the stuff was 
rock-material, if not the whole of it ; while with Mercury 
it seems probable that little water-stuff was included. In 
the opposite direction, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune must 
have received a large excess of water and atmospheric 
stuff. It is rational to suppose that their oceans have 
always covered the whole land, as ours does more than 
half. In fact, these bodies must be composed chiefly of 
water and atmosphere ; as their specific gravities are low 
as water and cork." ^^ 

Now if this is a good explanation what shall we say 
of the sun from which these planets were separated ? If 
it grew more and more solid as it contracted until Mer- 
cury, nearly ten times denser than Saturn, was thrown off, 
why is not the sun denser than Mercury ? whereas we 
find It with but one-fourth the density of earth. 

I Winchell, "Walks and talks in the Geological Field," p. 217. 


When the sun reached out to earth it must have had a 
diameter of nearly 200 million miles, but having now 
contracted to a diameter of less than one million of miles, 
should it not have a density ten times greater than earth's, 
instead of one so much less ? For if the solid parts when 
out at Neptune began to fall toward the sun's centre, 
they should have continued to fall until they reached it, 
or until they had met a density greater than their own. 
We must remember even at the sun's present surface a 
body would fall with much greater velocity than on 
earth's surface because of its greater weight. With the 
density of our earth more than five times that of water, 
and twice that of solid rock, all heavy substances must 
gravitate toward its centre ; whereas on the surface of 
the sun the gravitation is more than 27 times stronger. 
If then the sun were ever a fire-mist reaching out to 
earth, it would seem that nothing should have prevented 
the earth from falling with lightning-like speed to the 
sun's centre, as its volume was 8,000,000 times larger than 
now, and even its present volume would hold 900 thousand 
worlds like ours before it would have a like density. 

2d. Gravitation. We see the sun to-day as a perfect 
sphere, but does a body that is a sphere ever throw off 
rings by rotary movement ? When a body in its revolu- 
tions throws off rings by rotating, instead of being 
spherical it is of a flattened, or grind-stone shape, and 
the rings are hurled from it by the centrifugal force over- 
powering the gravitation ; hence we cannot think that the 
sun's rings, — being of enormous circumference and neces- 


sarily of a light or fluid substance in order to be thrown 
off, — could form into spheres unless the centrifugal force 
was extremely great. 

Let us suppose that Neptune was thrown off from the 
sun as a ring, like those we see around Saturn ; and, as it 
is now about 3,000 millions of miles distant from the 
sun's centre, before it was detached it must have had a 
diameter of about 6,000 millions of miles, with a circum- 
ference of over 18,000 million miles. Now, as Neptune 
has about 100 times the volume of earth,^ its ring could 
have been no more than 40 miles square ; for 1600 square 
miles multiplied by 18,000 million miles, the distance 
around that ring, will give more than Neptune's volume. 
How then could any substance so exceedingly thin draw 
to itself this enormous distance of 18,000 millions of miles, 
any more than a thread a thousand miles in length could 
draw itself together into a ball, without the thread's 
breaking into a million pieces ? 

Or, take another theory, and instead of supposing that 
the sun threw off rings, suppose that its surface cooled and 
formed into a hard crust. Had the inner sun then shrunk 
away from the outer could that crust have ever formed 
into a globe that would rotate around the inner sphere, 
and if not how could Neptune have been formed ? Should 
such a crust have extended around the sun while spread 
out to Neptune it must have had a circumference of over 
18,000 million miles, as did the ring, with a surface of 108 

I Steele's " New Descriptive Astronomy," p. 174. 


quintillions of square miles ; so the crust could not have 
exceeded one-sixtieth of an inch in thickness. If, then, 
Neptune's substance in any way resembles earth's, with a 
crust of that thickness upon the sun's surface, it must have 
collapsed in millions of places instead of having broken 
away from the sun and formed the globe that we now be- 
hold. Chambers tells us : "At the surface of the earth a 
body set free in space falls 16.1 ft. in the first second of 
time, with a velocity increasing during each succeeding 
second. A body similarly set free at the surface of the 
Sun would start with a velocity 27.4 times as great as that 
of a body falling at the surface of the Earth. This is 
equivalent to saying that a pound's weight of anything on 
the Earth would, if removed to the Sun, weigh more than 
27 lbs. The centrifugal force, due to the rotation of any 
body diminishes gravity at its surface. At the Earth's 
equator the total diminution is ^-J-g- part ; whilst at the 
Sun's equator the centrifugal force is only about y^.o^o^ 
part the force of gravity. It would be necessary that the 
Sun should turn on its axis 133 times quicker than it does, 
for the force of gravity to be neutralized. In the case of 
the Earth, however, a speed of rotation 17 times as great 
as it is would suffice to produce the same result." ^ 

By this it is seen the centrifugal force is comparatively- 
insignificant with the sun revolving faster than ever be- 
fore ; for, on the principle that the more a body contracts, 
the swifter it revolves, it must revolve several hundredl 

1 Chambers' " Hand Book of Astronomy," p. 6. 


times faster now than it did when its circumference was 
at Neptune's bounds. If this be the case it is difficult 
to believe there was ever a time that the sun could have 
been larger than at the present, and have had centrifugal 
force enough to throw off rings from its surface. 



ist. If the sun was once so much greater that it reached 
out to Neptune, — as it must have done if Neptune was cast 
off from it, — would not its poles have flattened like those 
of Earth, and have cooled first, and any matter thrown off 
from the globe have been at the poles? Yet the poles of 
Earth seem scarcely to change as it turns on its axis, and 
a body thrown off from them would not go around the 
planet ; but, on cooling, fall back to the liquid centre. 
Such being the case why has earth a density greater than 
the sun, and what was the power that kept, and still keeps 
it, from sinking into the sun ? Knowing as we do the 
power of gravitation, we should suppose these masses to 
be so held that they could not escape from the sun. Saturn, 
with its three glowing rings, we behold as a blazing star,* 

* "Saturn has a mean diameter that is about nine times that of Earth 
while his volume exceeds hers more than 700 times. Within an extreme 
span of upwards of four millions of miles on either side of Saturn's globe 
there circle eight satellites and two millions of worlds, the least of which is 
probably as large as Mars. Then within the path of the innermost of these 
moons there is the wonderful ring system of Saturn. The span of this sj'^stem 
of rings amounts to about 176,000 miles ; that is its outermost edge lies about 
88,000 miles from Saturn's centre, while the complete system has a breadth of 
37.600 miles, but the innermost part, to a breadth of nearly 9,000 miles is dark- 
Through this dark ring the outline of Saturn's disc can be clearly perceived. 
In fact this wonderful dark ring is transparent. The bright parts of the sys- 
tem form two rings, separated from each other by a dark, but not perfectly 
black, circular division about 1700 miles broad." 

Proctor, " EJxpanse of the Heavens," p. 96. 


but why has it not cooled ? The sun must have thrown 
off the planet millions of years ago, for it now lies about 
900 millions of miles distant, and the contracting of the 
sun on its radius would make it 450 millions of centuries 
since it spread out as far as Saturn. Hence, if Earth is 
cold Saturn should be the same in that far-away, colder 
region ; and being ten times farther from the sun than the 
earth, it should have been formed ten times as long ago, 
according to the nebular hypothesis. 

If Saturn yet throws off rings may not the sun do the 
same until cool as Saturn and reduced to a like size ? At 
the time the sun spread out to that planet its diameter 
must have been 1800 millions of miles, whereas now it is 
about 900,000 miles. With such a diameter shrunken 
to less than one million of miles we would ask why 
Saturn is not yet cool ? Should we extend the sun's 
diameter again to reach Saturn, it would have, as stated, a 
radius of 900 millions of miles ; giving 10,000 million times 
its present volume. By contracting the same at a like rate 
it would be 450 millions of centuries ago that Saturn was 
thrown off from the sun. Now, as Saturn has only ytV^ 
part of the sun's volume, with a density much less, and lies 
far out in space ; why in all these millions of years has it 
not cooled instead of holding heat and continuing to throw 
off rings? If it possesses the exceedingly light density 
sometimes claimed for it, ^ and has a gravitation at its sur- 

I ''Its mean density is less than that of any known planet, being less than 

one-seventh of the earth." 

Proctor, " Expanse of the Heavens," p. 97. 


face but little more than that of Earth, one would suppose 
to find it a much colder object than the earth. 

2nd. The little planets called asteroids take somewhat 
the form of a nebula and are distant from. the sun from 
two to three hundred and fifteen millions of miles. Yet 
these planets, numbering some three hundred, do not, if 
taken all together, form more than one-fourth the size of 
Earth, yet they must be older than either Earth or Mars, 
according to the above hypothesis, and should likewise 
be cold. For a time the explosion of some planet was 
thought to have formed them, but the great number 
since discovered, and their position and movements, give 
no credence to the belief that they are fragments of a 
shattered planet ; for Vesta as seen by the naked eye, and 
Ceres and Pallas, show by their orbits that to be an impos- 
sibility. They are now thought to have been thrown from 
the sun as a ring, and that the ring, instead of forming 
into one planet, has been broken up into these numberless 
asteroids. If this supposition be true we should expect to 
find them all at about the same distance from the sun. 
Instead we find that their distances vary millions of miles, 
making nearly as great a difference between them as is 
their distance from the sun. What, then, must that ring 
have been when it is claimed that the combined mass 
of the asteroids would not exceed over 400 miles ! Proc- 
tor tells us : " The asteroids themselves supply an argu- 
ment in favor of the nebular theory rendering its proba- 
bility so strong as practically to amount to certainty ; for 
the antecedent probability against the observed uniformity 


of direction of the 175 asteroids by chance, or in any con- 
ceivable way except as the result of some process of evo- 
lution is equal to that of tossing either ' head ' or ' tail ' 
175 times running, or about 23,945,290,000,000,000,000,- 
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to i."^ Not- 
withstanding the above statement we would argue that 
when those asteroids were formed the sun must have 
reached out to them, if they were cast off from it ; where- 
as we see them distant from the sun only from two to three 
hundred million miles, while Jupiter is 480 millions of 
miles distant from it, so that to-day the asteroids are about 
as far from one as the other. How could they thus get 
away from the sun's gravitation when it is still a thousand 
times larger than Jupiter and at the time they were 
thrown off — or detached — must have been much more than 
that. It is claimed that Jupiter has still great power over 
these asteroids, and if so the sun should have a much 
greater power because of its size and proximity. 

I Procter, " Poetry of Astronomy , " p. 366, 



If all the stars that we now see in space were once fire- 
mist, there must have been another region equally large 
filled with some substance of a temperature 600° below 
zero, in order to equalize the heat of the fire-mist and 
leave space 300° below zero, as it now is in the vast 
region that surrounds existing stars." What must that 
cold of 600° have been, for what is that of 300° even when 
water freezes at 32° above zero and mercury at 30° below ! 
Where that cold space was we know not, neither do we 
know what was in space before the fire-mist. ^ 

If the nebular theory will sufficiently account for the 
throwing-off and cooling of the planets, will it likewise 
account for the millions of suns disseminated throughout 
space? In the first place, let us suppose that all these suns 
were made at the same time and filled space with the 
same substance as our earth, only in a diffused state. In 

1 For example : Take two rooms and heat one as hot as the sun now is 
what must the cold in the next room be to equalize the heat to 300° below zero ? 

2 "We do not inquire how the original nebula came into being ; our history 
must commence with the actual existence of this nebula. There is, let it be 
confessed, a great deal of obscurity still clinging to the subject. Though we 
may be sure, that the great neblua once existed we cannot with much con- 
fidence trace out the method by which the planets were actually formed. 

Sir Robert Ball, " In Starry Realms," p. 348. 

26 SPACE. 

such a case I cannot conceive how it could break up and 
resolve into stars, for there being no space to turn in all 
would revolve together. The pulp within the rind of an 
orange could not be cut into circles and caused to revolve 
inside of that rind ; so fire-mist once filling the immensity 
of space must have continued to revolve in an unbroken 
mass. Secondly ; If the stars were formed at different 
periods of time should" not many be still forming ? where- 
as space appears wondrously clear. We would think if 
all this great space were to-day filled with nebulae 
composed of material similar to that of earth, we could 
not see ; for our vision of the heavens would be obstructed 
thereby, and we should know nothing about the counties^ 
numbers of stars that, with the aid of the telescope, now 
make the very heavens to blaze with light. Why is it that 
the space about all, or nearly all, of the suns has thus 
cleared if a state of fire-mist is common to all of them ? 
It is true Nebulae are seen that appear like vast fields of 
dim light, but they are often resolved into stars when ex- 
amined with powerful instruments, and the nebulae that 
cannot be thus resolved into suns occupy but a small por- 
tion of the heavens. Less than one cubic foot is now left 
out of the 147,200 millions of cubic feet in every cubic 
mile of fire-mist that the sun's sphere must have contained 
when it reached out to the planet Neptune, and what has 
become of it all ? If it is not in our system it must have 
gone into others. Again ; if among the stars that we now 
see there are a million, or even a thousand times as many 
dark bodies as luminous ones, they must in a measure 

SPACE. 27 

obstruct the light of the glowing suns. But were this 
known to be true it would not prove that these bodies 
were not originally formed dark objects; and who but an 
omnipotent and omniscient Ruler could prevent repeated 
collisions among them ? 

The nebular theory accounts only for our own solar sys- 
tem, and yet all the stars that we see in the heavens can 
be no less wondrous than our own flaming sun. That we 
see their light even, at so great a distance, is proof that 
they can be no less great. We must account, then, not only 
for our own planetary system, but for the countless mil- 
lions that exist ; and we must concede that the laws that 
govern one would, presumably, govern every one. Hence, 
a period of fire-mist for one implies the same for all. 

If the distance from our sun to the next nearest sun is 
20 trillions of miles, a sphere whose radius reaches half 
way, that is ten trillion miles, could contain eight sextil- 
lions of suns, each with a diameter of one million of miles. 
Now let a single grass seed represent one of these suns, 
and twenty-seven millions of them one cubic inch. Should 
we fill a bin one mile long, broad, and high, with such 
seeds, there would yet be more suns in the above sphere 
than it would take of grass seeds to fill this bin holding 
seven sextillions of them. When we think that each 
grass seed is to represent a sun two million times larger 
than our earth, — for each sun with a million of miles diam- 
eter would, — the thought of the contents of such a sphere 
is overwhelming. 

28 SPACE. 

Professor Mitchell tells us that with a telescope light 
from distant nebulae can be seen that has been thirty mil- 
lions of years on its journey. Let us imagine a sphere 
with a radius of one million years of light's flight at the 
rate of twelve million miles per minute, viz., six quintil- 
lions of miles. A sphere of such a radius would contain 
as many spheres of ten trillions of miles radius as one 
could put cubic inches in 850 cubic miles, or 216,000 
trillions. This sphere could hold as many suns of 
one million miles diameter as there might be grass 
seeds that would cover a million of earth's for one 
mile in depth, each earth containing on its surface 200 
millions of square miles, and every cubic inch thereof 
representing 27 millions of grass seeds. When we think 
that each seed represents two millions of earths can we 
comprehend the greatness of the universe? Remember 
the same calculations that enable us to determine the 
number of cubic feet in our earth, sun, or any other sphere, 
bring these astounding but certain results. And when we 
further remember this space is every where so clear 
and powerful that it transmits light at the rate of over 
eleven million miles each minute, enabling us to see in 
every part of the heavens the wonderful stars at an im- 
mense distance.; and that if we bring to our aid the most 
powerful telescopes they only tend to magnify the already 
vast number of stars ; we are led to realize that beyond 
all things else we can conceive space is the most astonish- 
ing and wonderful, excepting its great Creator. While 
some think that the sun is cooling and all its planets will 

SPACE. 29 

be affected thereby, and refer to the destruction and insta- 
bility of earthly things ; where is there a single atom of 
this inconceivably vast, vibratory space that reveals the 
least change or destructiveness, although it must have ex- 
isted for millions of ages. 

Sir Robert S. Ball has given a very marked illustration of 
the wonderful magnitude of space in his late book entitled 
" In the High Heavens," from which we quote as follows : 
"Summon up to your imagination the most distant star 
that can be seen with the unaided eye. Then think of the 
minutest star that our most potent telescope can disclose. 
Think of the tiniest stellar point of light which could pos- 
sibly be depicted on the most sensitive photographic plate 
after hours of exposure to the heavens. Think, indeed, 
of the very remotest star which, by any conceivable device, 
can be rendered perceptible to our consciousness. Doubt- 
less that star is thousands of billions of miles from earth ; 
doubtless the light from it requires thousands of years, and 
some astronomers have said millions of years, to span the 
abyss which intervenes between our globe and those dis- 
tant regions. But, nevertheless, there is a certain number 
of miles, even though we not, at which the re- 
motest stars known to us must lie. I do not speak of the 
most distant star which the universe may possibly contain ; 
I only refer to the most distant star that we can possibly 
bring within our ken. 

Imagine a great sphere to be described with its centre 
at our earth, and with a radius extending all the way from 
the earth to this last star knowable by man. Every star 

30 SPA CE. 

that we can see, every star whose existence becomes dis- 
closed to us on our photographs, lies inside this sphere ; 
as to the orbs which may lie outside that sphere we can 
know nothing by direct observation. The imagination 
doubtless suggests with irresistible emphasis, that this 
outer region is also occupied by stars and nebulae, suns 
and worlds, in the same manner as the interior of that 
mighty sphere whose contents are more or less accessible 
to our scrutiny. It would do utter violence to our notions 
of the law of continuity to assume that all the existent 
matter in the universe happened to lie inside this sphere ; 
we need only mention such a supposition to dismiss it as 
wholly indefensible. I do not now make any attempt to 
express the number of miles in the diameter of the sphere 
which limits the extent of space known directly to man. 
What that number may be is quite immaterial for our pres- 
ent purpose. But the point that I especially want to bring 
out is that the volume occupied by this stupendous globe, 
which includes within it all possible visible material, must 
be but a speck when compared with the space which con- 
tains it. Think of the water in the Atlantic Ocean, and 
think of the water in a single drop. As the drop is to the 
Atlantic Ocean so is the sphere which we have been try- 
ing to conceive to the boundless extent of space. As far 
as we know it would seem that there could be quite as 
many of such spheres in space as there are drops of water 
in the Atlantic Ocean." 

Now with this defining of space it is evident that it mat- 
ters but little what the material substances of the universe 

SPACE. 31 

may be. If the hundreds of millions of bright suns — which 
are thought to be few in proportion to the invisible, dark 
worlds scattered throughout space — are but as a single drop 
of water to all the Atlantic Ocean ; then we are compelled 
to admit that our earth and sun, and even the great host 
of luminous orbs, must be of little consequence beside 
this infinitely vaster and more intensely active ether. 

It behooves us above all things, then, to inquire what this 
amazingly great space may be. Let us quote further from 
the above author : " Every particle of matter whether 
solid, liquid, or gaseous, is composed of molecules. No 
doubt these molecules are so numerous that even in the 
air we breathe the capacity of a lady's thimble would con- 
tain a multitude of molecules so great that it has to be 
enumerated by billions." Again, " The air is ultimately 
composed of myriads of separate particles. Each of these 
little particles, no matter how quiet the air as a whole may 
seem, is in a state of intensely rapid movement. Picture 
to yourself incalculable myriads of little objects, each 
dashing about with a speed as great as that of a rifle bul- 
let, and often indeed far greater. The little particles are 
so minute that it would take about fifty millions of them, 
placed side by side, to extend over a single inch. The 
smallest object which we can disern with a microscope 
is perhaps one hundred-thousandth of an inch in length. 
The little gaseous molecule would therefore require to 
possess a diameter about five hundred times greater than 
that which it actually has if it were to be large enough to 
admit of inspection by the utmost microscopic powers 

32 SPACE. 

which we can bring to bear upon it. And yet, notwith- 
standing the fact that these particles are so extremely 
minute, we are able to reason about their existence, to 
discover many of their properties, and to ascertain the 
laws of their action in such a way as to throw light into 
many obscure places of nature. I do not, indeed, know 
any doctrine in modern science of a more instructive char- 
acter than that which teaches us the composition of gases." 
If this be true of air what then can be said of space, or 
ether, in which all worlds float as easily as the motes in a 
sunbeam ; that space which transmits light everywhere 
with a precision that never varies ? And what is light, 
indeed, but vibrations of ether from 400 trillions to 800 
trillions per second, giving all the colors from violet to 
red ? There is not an atom of ether in all space, so far as 
science can detect, that has ever ceased to vibrate, or ever 
will, with the startling rapidity above expressed. 

But, to further illustrate the magnitude of space, let us 
again take the flight of light as a basis for our calculations. 
As there are 525,600 minutes in a year, light — moving at 
the rate of eleven millions of miles each minute — must 
travel in one year 5,781,600 millions of miles. With that 
number of miles as radius of a sphere, of which earth is 
the centre, the diameter will be 11,563,200 millions of 
miles, and the surface of the sphere 401,112,000 quintil- 
lions of square miles, while it will possess a volume of 
about 800 undecillions of cubic miles. Dividing this num- 
ber by the 260,000 millions of cubic miles that earth con- 
tains we have 3,000 septillions, the number of earths that 

SPACE. 33 

such a sphere could contain. Now in an ocean 5,000 miles 
long, 3,000 miles broad, and 3 miles deep there will be 45 
millions of cubic miles, or 250 trillions of inches. Allow- 
ing 200 drops of water to each cubic inch, we have in one 
cubic mile 50 quadrillions of drops, and in that ocean 2,250 
sextillions of drops of water. Dividing 3,000 septillions — 
the number of earths in the above sphere — by the number 
of drops of water in the ocean, we find we would need 1300 
such oceans to furnish enough drops of water to equal the 
number of earths that could be placed in a sphere whose 
radius is but the number of miles that light travels in a 
single year. With a radius equal to one hundred years of 
light's flight a sphere might contain as many earths as there 
would be drops of water in 1300 millions of such oceans ; 
while a radius of light's flight for 100,000 years could hold 
as many earths as there were drops of water in 1300 quadrill- 
ions of such oceans, or a number of oceans equalling the 
drops of water in 26 cubic miles. Again, in a million years 
of light's flight there might be as many earths as drops of 
water in 1300 quintillions of such oceans, or the number 
of oceans equaling the drops of water in 26,000 cubic miles. 
If a sphere with a radius of light's flight for but one year 
could contain 3,000 septillions of bodies like our earth, and 
yet that sphere be but an atom in space, it would seem 
that space might be infinite in its extent, with our concep- 
tion of infinity. But if space is finite and light, after a 
flight of a million of millions of years, reaches its utmost 
bound ; then that light, if still existing and radiating 400 
trillions of vibrations each second, can double that time 

34 SPACE. 

and return. For if not cooled in a million of millions of 
years the supposition is that it will not cool in twice that 

Still, again, let us conceive of a sphere, but this time 
with a radius — not of ten millions of years of light's flight, 
which would contain as many earths as drops in 1300 quin- 
tillions of such oceans, a number equalling more than half 
the drops in an ocean that contained 45 millions of cubic 
miles — but we will take less than ten minutes of light's 
flight with a radius of 100 millions of miles, which is a lit- 
tle more than the distance from the earth to the sun. We 
find that this sphere would contain 15 trillions of earths ; 
a number ten thousand times greater than that of all the 
people living upon earth. When we think that each one 
of those earths would contain 260,000 millions of cubic 
miles it is seemingly all that our minds can well grasp. 

We may not know how many millions of years each atom 
of ether has been in existence, but probably before any 
worlds ever floated within it ; and how can we conceive 
the thought of death in this immensity of space where 
there is not the slightest indication of subsidence or decay ? 
We must remember that this ether is a million times more 
active than air and possesses energies that we cannot 
conceive of in the more solid substances of the spheres. 
Then, whether the nebular hypothesis of the cooling of the 
sun and worlds be right or wrong, we may not detect it 
from any evidence that space gives thereof ; and we can 
but believe that, if it be a fact, it must be so only because 
He who formed this wondrous space has in their destiny 

SPA CE. 35 

an object. The Eternal Presence may give to this vast, 
eternal space a glow that needs not the light of sun, moon, 
or the shining host of stars, even though all these mighty 
orbs that we now behold should be plunged into everlast- 
ing darkness. 

In order to better comprehend the mighty vastness of 
this space we will measure it again into units of 260,000 
millions of cubic miles, (the size of earth), and with a 
radius based on the number of miles of light's flight in 
minutes, days, months, and years, ascertain the number of 
different sized spheres that such radii would form. A 
sphere with earth as its centre, and a radius of one minut-e 
of light's flight, would contain 21 billions of earths; a 
sphere whose radius was nine minutes would contain 15,310 
billions of earths, one of an hour's radius 4,500 trillions, 
one of a day's 62 quintillions, a week's 20 sextillions, a 
month's 1675 sextillions, and a year's radius of the flight 
of light three octillions. To go still further ; 10 year's 
radius of light's flight would contain three nonillions, 100 
year's three decillions, 1,000 year's three undecillions, 
1,000,000 year's three quatuordecillions, and a thousand 
million years radius would contain three septendecillions 
of such earths. Now to compare these great numbers we 
will suppose, as before, that there are 200 drops of water 
m one cubic inch, making 50 quadrillions of drops in one 
cubic mile of water, 50 quintillions in one thousand cubic 
miles, 50 sextillions in one million of such miles, 50 
septillions in one thousand millions, and 50 octillions in 
one million millions of cubic miles. 

36 SPACE. 

We need go no further for the immensity of space is seen 
by comparison of the earths in the above spheres with 
the number of drops of water in all those cubic miles. 
We find the sphere that has but one day's flight of light 
as a radius will contain more earths of 260,000 millions of 
cubic miles each, than there are water-drops in 1,000 cubic 
miles ; or, in other words, as many drops as there would 
be in 100 Sounds like Long Island from Bridgeport to New 
York, allowing those sounds to average 100 feet in depth 
and each contain ten cubic miles of water. 

The thought so astounding and well nigh inconceivable 
is that a sphere of such vast dimensions has only a radius 
of a single day's flight of light, light that starting from its 
centre would pass the circumference of the sphere in one 
day ; while a sphere with a radius of ten year's flight of 
light — a distance only a little way beyond the nearest 
known star in the northern heavens, 61 Cygni — could con- 
tain as many earths as there are drops in 60 millions of 
millions of cubic miles. Yet a sphere with that radius of 
ten year's flight would cover such an enormous quantity of 
space as to be beyond our comprehension and still be of 
no consequence in comparison with the spheres of one hun- 
dred, one thousand, one million, or one thousand millions 
of years radii. 

Why I thus compute 1,000 millions of years of light's 
radius is because it is possible with powerful telescopes 
to detect light coming that distance ; and when we con- 
template that our nearest star. Alpha Centauri,. is twenty 
trillions of miles distant, and 61 Cygni more than twice as 

SPACE. 37 

far, — or seven year's flight of light, — and that the Polar 
star is some fifty years of light's flight removed from us ; 
then, if all suns are no nearer to each other than these 
are to our sun, we are led to believe we may see light with 
our unaided vision that has been on it's journey for a mil- 
lion years. Some detect with the naked eye the light that 
comes from the nebula in the Sword's-Handle of Orion, 
which is thought to contain two trillions, two hundred bil- 
lions of stars ; and if all these stars are no nearer to each 
other than Alpha Centauri is to our sun, it cannot be other- 
wise than that some of them are so distant their light may 
have been travelling for a million years before it comes to 
our sight. If this be true, with telescopes that penetrate 
a thousand times farther into the heavens, we may possi- 
bly see light that has been on its voyage to earth one 
thousand millions of years. But the number of earths a 
sphere of i,ooo millions of years of light's flight would 
contain makes the number of drops of water in sixty mil- 
lions of millions of cubic miles (equalling but the earths 
in a sphere of ten years radius) sink into utter insignificance. 
And yet a sphere of this dimension, even, may be small be- 
side the whole universe of ether whose every atom in all 
the millions of years past, as far as known, has not in the 
least diminished its wonderful energy; and, with lightning- 
like transmission,still brings to our sight light from distant 
stars, all of which are so distant that they do not materi- 
ally increase the present flow of light. For if but a single 
one were to come between us and the sun the increase of 
that light and heat would be unendurable. 

38 SPA CE. 

Finally, as space thus surpasses everything in its great- 
ness excepting its Creator, let us contemplate it once again 
in the following manner. Suppose we could create 40,000 
millions of cubic miles of ether daily ; we would at the end 
of the week have an amount equalling the volume of our 
earth. If we continued that creation daily, — not for hun- 
dreds, thousands, or millions of years even, — but for 1,000 
millions of millions of years, we should then have as many 
such volumes of ether the size of earth as there are drops 
of water in one cubic mile. But what of all this ? Admit- 
ting that we could create bodies as fast as our earth was 
made, and continue to do so for 1,000 millions of millions of 
years, it would still be of little account; for its insignificance 
is seen when we remember it is but one-fifty-eight thous- 
and millionth part of what a sphere would contain with a 
radius of one year's flight of light. To think of 40,000 
millions of cubic miles being created daily, with the process 
continued for 1,000 millions of millions of years, and that 
vast quantity still further expanded 58,000 millions of 
times, would seem the extent of greatness itself and beyond 
all human realization. Yet we can still say all this would 
be of slight consequence, for it represents a sphere whose 
radius is but one year of light's flight, and that sphere 
compared to one of 1,000 millions of years radius is no more 
than a boy's marble, — with a radius of but one-fourth of 
an inch, — to earth whose radius is 4,000 miles, and a 
thousand million times larger than the radius of the marble. 

We have endeavored by the above comparisons to show 
the vastness of space ; and although our efforts must be 

SPACE. 39 

vain because of our inability to comprehend such great 
figures, still it is pleasant to contemplate this ether, upon 
which time has so little effect, because man is mortal and 
the 1500 millions of people that pass from earth every 33 
years makes it seem to him that death reigns everywhere. 
But when we consider that the only things essentially 
effected by time are the animal and vegetable kingdom, 
and that all men now living could occupy about one-fif- 
teenth of one cubic mile of earth ; we see that death, even 
in the animal kingdom, is confined to a few cubic miles, 
and to but a few more in the vegetable kingdom. The in- 
conceivable millions of millions of cubic miles in a sphere 
with a radius of one million years of light's flight is in no 
manner affected, as we perceive, by the dread power that 
we recognize in the dissolution of mortal bodies. 

Even these bodies, as we understand, are changed only 
in the combination of molecules, and by that change the 
immortal spirit, that is as imperceptible as the wind, of 
which we are told we cannot tell " whence it cometh nor 
whither it goeth," is set free ; the Bible teaching us its 
eternal destiny. The greatest and best things that men 
here possess are love and goodness, and should not the 
Almighty possess these virtues beyond any of His crea- 
tures ? Possessing these how could He otherwise than 
send to Earth His Son for their salvation from sin ; for 
we find men here, even, who are willing to peril their lives 
for the salvation of their fellows, and would undoubtedly 
be kind to an inferior animal, though an ant or worm, had 
they created it and knew it loved and worshiped them. 



Akin to this, we believe, is man's relation to his Creator 
and the Creator of this mighty and seemingly everlasting 



Were earth's crust no thicker in comparison than the 
skin of an apple or peach, or yi^ of its radius even, still 
man has never penetrated to one-twentieth of that depth ; 
for I know of no place where he has as yet reached one 
mile below earth's general level, unless it be in ocean- 
soundings. In most places the mines or gorges have been 
in the mountains high above the valleys, consequently we 
know little of what is far beneath the earth's surface. 
How could we judge of the inside of nuts, fruits, grains, 
or vegetables if we had penetrated to but one-twentieth 
of their coverings ? 

Take, for instance, a chestnut that all boys are familiar 
with, and see what we may learn from it. We find that it 
is covered with a tough, brown shell which in turn is en- 
closed in a large prickly burr ten times the size of the nut. 
This protects it until ripened and then opens to let the 
nut fall. The burr is fastened to a large forest tree whose 
roots are deep in the ground ; a tree that had been growing 
for years before the chestnut was produced, and first 
started from another nut of its kind. From the time its 
growth began there was nothing in root, trunk, limb, or 
leaves for years that in any way resembled a chestnut ; 
nor in the blossom or burr even, until the nut ripened and 


fell to the ground. Could one think, who had never 
before seen the nut, that from such a tree a chestnut 
could be produced ? 

The same is true of all m-anner of nuts, fruits, and 
vegetables. It is even true of animals, for they are 
enclosed in such varied coverings that their nature is 
often quite concealed from us. We may as well believe 
there is something in earth's interior, away from winds 
and cold, as precious over and above its crust as the chest- 
nut is better than the burr that encloses it; the fruit better 
than its rind; or fish, birds, and animals better than their 
skins. Knowing this, man, while he would grasp the 
greatness of the universe, may somewhat under-rate the 
contents of his own earth. 

Dr. Winchell in speaking of cold has said ; ''It has been 
demonstrated that an ice-cap resting several thousand 
years over any considerable portion of the surface would 
so reduce the subjacent temperature of the earth that for 
many centuries after the disappearance of the ice, a 
decrease of temperature would be discovered in penetrat- 
ing downward. Even centuries later, so much cold would 
still remain within the earth, that the rate of increase of 
temperature would be less than if the ice-cap had not 
existed ; and after 3,600 years, that rate would be only 
half the normal rate." * 

Now if the earth's crust will thus retain the cold why 
may it not as well retain the heat ? In that case any 
excess of heat escaping from earth, over and above the 

I Winchell, "Walks and Talks in the Geological Field," p. 99. 


heat it constantly receives from the sun, may be readily 
accounted for. It is claimed that the earth has large 
quantities of sunlight and heat stored in a liquid state, as 
petroleum ; in a gaseous state, as natural gas ; and in a 
solidified form, as coal ; some of which are found at a 
depth of 1600 or more feet, although coal is sometimes 
found near the surface, and even upon the mountains. 
If these are all stored sunlight, why do they not accumu- 
late over earth's entire surface as well as in certain 
localities, — especially in the torrid zone where great heat 
exists, — and accumulate to-day as well as in former ages ? 
When we remember that the Mesozoic aeon was 
preceded by the long Palaeozoic, and earlier by the 
Eozoic, — whose aeon has been laid down at eleven million 
years, with a strata at least 50,000 feet thick of hardest 
rock, — what could have been the cause of the submerging 
of the lands where these gases and coal lay ? For 
millions of years the Eozoic strata had upheld the oceans 
that were two or more miles in depth, and of enormous 
weight. If the earth was cooling all those years the crust 
must have been hardening, and what added weight could 
have been at so late a period to cause the submerging of 
those lands ? It has been thought that in the glacial 
period when the accumulation of ice over a portion of 
earth's surface lay 5,000 feet thick that its weight might 
haye depressed the terrestrial crust. ' But ice being lighter 
than water, even though it were of that thickness, would 

I Wiuchell, " Walks and talks in the Geological Field," p. 275. 


not have had the weight of water a mile in depth; whereas 
more than twice that depth of water rested upon three- 
fourths of the globe. Moreover the ice-period was many 
millions of years later than the Palteozoic and Eozoic ages, 
and had the earth all this time been growing colder its 
crust must have been thickening, making it capable of 
enduring almost any pressure. Any crust, as ice upon 
water or the shell upon an tgg^ will bear more than its 
whole weight before it will sink into the substance upon 
which it rests. 

It might be thought that earth, while cooling, would 
shrink beneath its crust and leave a vacuum, as ice some- 
times does upon a small surface. This could not happen 
as the vast surface of extended crust, by the enormous 
pressure of air upon it, would be held closely pressed to 
whatever was beneath. For, although earth's surface is 
convex, it is still 25,000 miles around it, a distance so 
great that its crust would have almost the same pressure 
as if the surface were level. 



That the heat of the earth increases as we penetrate its 
surface has been learned from mining, tunneling, and the 
boring of wells. Yet on testing the wells the}^ do not seem 
to show any uniform temperature. The deepest Artesian 
well is in St. Louis and has a depth of 3,843^ feet, while 
its water is found to be of a temperature of 105°.^ This 
would seem to indicate that the earth is hotter as we 
descend into it ; still, there may be reasonable causes 
therefor without its heat extending after all to any great 
depth. When we remember that the earth is 4,000 miles 
from surface to centre we find that this deep well is not 
even -g-oVo" P^^^ ^^ ^^^ distance, and what may be in the 
interior of the earth is yet quite uncertain. It may 
possess elements, that from earth's swift revolutions on 
its axis, and far swifter flight through space, would supply 
any loss of heat over and above what is received from 
the sun. Heat may also penetrate earth's surface more 
easily than it escapes, for earth is surrounded by an atmos- 
phere that receives the sunlight readily, but not so readily 
lets it go; and prevents the outside cold of 200° below 
zero from falling upon it nightly. 

T Winch ell. " Walks and Talks in the Geological Field," p. 98. 


Further it is said, with seeming reasonableness ; *' No 
rock has the requisite rigidity to resist the crushing 

weight of a mountain twenty miles high." Whatever 


movements may take place in the earth's crust, involve 
masses so great and forces so enormous that the resistan- 
ces of ordinary matter are inconsiderable. The most 
solid rocks are essentially fluid or viscid. Now, such 
movements must necessarily result from two causes : 
First, a slow shrinkage of the earth through loss of heat ; 
secondly, the attraction of the sun and moon, which cause 
tidal protuberances on the surface of the earth, however 
rigid it may be ; and these, continually shifting their 
positions, as the oceanic tides do, result in daily motions 
adequate to develop a large amount of frictional heat.^ 

This last occasioning of heat we would especially notice, 
and, perhaps, amply account for the present known heat. 
If at the bottom of said Artesian well, two-thirds of a 
mile deep, the temperature is 105°, why is it at the bottom 
of the ocean, five miles toward earth's centre, that the 
water is ice cold ? It is admitted that the question con- 
cerning internal heat is imperfectly understood. "We 
neither know," says Professor Winchell, " at what depth 
it exists, at what ratio it increases, nor what is its cause 
or source. Nor do we know whether the deep interior is 
in a solid or a liquid state. Assuming the rate of increase 
to be one degree for 60 feet of descent, we should obtain, 
in the latitude of New York, heat enough to boil water at 

I winchell, "Walks and Talks in the Geological Field," p. loi. 


a depth of about 9,000 feet." We note that in proportion 
to the depth of the well it should have a temperature of 
at least 500°, or a heat that would cause the waters of the 
ocean overlying three-fourths of earth's surface to boil ; 
especially in deep waters where there is but little of 
earth's sediment, and where its crust must be necessarily 
thinner than the elevated land. 

Again ; We are told that the moon is scarred all over 
with volcanic craters, some of which are 100 miles in diam- 
eter ; but what volcanic crater on earth could be detected 
240,000 miles away by any telescope that magnified 1,000 
times, or even be seen by the naked eye at a distance of 
240 miles ? There are, to be sure, at the present day vol- 
canoes that give evidence of great internal heat, as Etna 
and Vesuvius. These compared to earth's vast surface of 
200 millions of square miles, and vaster volume, would be 
no more than a burning leaf in a forest of trees. The 
many extinct ones show it must have been the same in 
past ages, but how soon these are seized upon by vegeta- 
tion and hidden from view ! We are told that masses of 
lava are very poor conductors of heat and have been found 
burning a century after their eruption.^ This being the 
case how long might heat be imprisoned in earth, when it has 
been stated that cold might not all escape in 7,000 years? 
May not this imprisoned heat be the source of the escaping 
of any excessive heat over and above that which earth has 
received ; and all these volcanoes — and the hot springs as 

I Winchell, "Walks aud Talks," p. 99. 


well — be caused by smouldering under-ground fires of 
liquid, gaseous, or solidified heat ; generated, we know not 
how, from either the sun's or the earth's heat ? For if the 
sun's heat can be stored in cold bodies to be used thous- 
ands, or even millions of years afterward, may not earth's 
escaping heat be likewise returned to earth, and every par- 
ticle of it be held by earth, as water and air are held by it ? 
The petroleum, natural gas, and coal that have been lit- 
tle known until the last fifty years, are all lying within one 
half mile of earth's surface and of sufficient quantity to 
make several volcanoes, could oxygen be brought to fan 
them into a flame. What materials equally as combustible 
may be discovered when the earth is penetrated in other 
pla.ces, and for another half mile below its surface, we do 
not know ; neither do we know what may be revealed as 
we descend deeper and deeper into earth's every portion 
until reaching a depth of an hundred or a thousand miles. 
But who shall say there are not as wondrous things yet 
to come from beneath earth's crust as have ever been 
found upon, or near, its surface ? Man has already dis- 
covered over sixty elements some of which, were they in 
abundance, would give a very enduring flame. When we 
see chemists separating water for burning, or consuming 
steel files in combustion we may be prepared for other 
startling discoveries. What we already know, through 
cyclones and hurricanes, concerning the power of air, that 
is seemingly so subtle and still, should lead us to believe 
that we have as yet little understanding relative to the hid- 
den truths of earth ; and what its interior may possess of 


heat and other elements is not for us to say with any degree 
of certainty. 

The thought we may now well entertain is this ; it is 
remarkable that the earth's surface where we are dwelling 
is well adapted for our existence. At present there is life 
here ; that death was in the past, and destruction will be 
in the future, we may believe as we choose, but have no 
certainty of the fact ; for the indestructibleness of every 
atom of ether in the universe would seemingly question 
the power of time to work destruction to our earth so 
minute in comparison. 



I CONCEIVE that one reason why scientists believe in the 
nebular hypothesis is because of their knowing that heat 
consumes. One cannot contemplate a burning object 
without perceiving that it grows smaller and smaller ; 
therefore why should not the sun with its flaming hydro- 
gen, rising sometimes to a height of 200,000 miles, 
consume the sun ? It is claimed but ^3^0^ millionth of its 
force reaches earth, and yet it is asserted that the sun 
could melt 287,200,000 cubic miles of ice per second 
without quenching its heat.' From what we know apper- 
taining to heat, how can we think it is otherwise than 
reducing the sun's volume ? 

Yet we must remember there are other things as difficult 
of comprehension. We see the mist rising from the ocean 
and forming into clouds that drift through the heavens 
when moved by the winds, and we might well believe in 
future years the oceans will be drained of their contents. 
But when we learn that all those waters pass into the sky 
but to condense and fall to earth, and then through 
streams again reach the oceans, we can readily understand 
that they may be the same to-day as when created ; nor 
conceive how it will be otherwise to the end of time. 

I Warren, "Recreations in Astronomy," p. 94. 


Again, when a boiler of water seems wasting through 
invisable steam, expanded 1800 times its original bulk, we 
might well believe it is being destroyed only we have 
learned all that steam in some manner cools and forms 
again the first element H ^O, not one particle being lost. 
When any body is burned and we see the flames ascending 
into the air, we say it is being destroyed, for so it 
seems ; but chemists tell us the form alone is changed 
and the weight after burning identical with its first weight; 
showing thereby that not one particle of earth can either be 
formed or destroyed, but simply changed from combina- 
tions of molecules to simple molecules, or vice-versa. 

We see earth everywhere surrounded by an atmospheric 
sea, not of oxygen and hydrogen, but of oxygen and 
nitrogen — four-fifths being nitrogen — and were the other 
fifth the same no life could exist in it. Scientists tell us 
this atmosphere extends from one to two hundred miles 
into the sky, but is densest at the earth's surface ; and as 
one ascends rapidly rarifies so that at a height of a few 
miles no life can exist. From what is known of winds and 
cyclones one might expect the atmosphere would be torn 
from earth, especially as earth moves at the rate of iioo 
miles per minute, and revolves on its axis about the same 
number of miles per hour. One would suppose, at least, 
that which is highest and thinnest must be left behind in 
space ; yet we cannot learn since Earth's creation that 
any of it has been thus lost. 

Furthermore, when we contemplate earth's delicate 
poise of forces, — " No balance turning to jo'io' ^^ ^ grain 


being more delicate." — we may well believe the sun is 
the same to-day as two thousand years ago ; for it could 
not have wasted any of its substance without having 
thereby affected the gravitation of the earth. In some 
manner, like the waters that rise from ocean and return 
again ; like the steam, and burning bodies that are not 
lost ; and like the atmosphere the earth holds, the sun 
may be also holding its every atom of heat ; though 
changed, perhaps, in some of its combinations. We must 
remember that the sun's rays, as they pass into space, can 
be seen by us only when the vibrations are between 400 
and 800 trillions per seconds, for above or below that 
number they are invisible to human sight. Were these 
rays condensed, or in some manner changed, making as 
great a difference between them as there is difference 
between the vapors rising from the ocean to the clouds, 
and the streams returning to them ; they might before 
their condensation, or change, give different vibrations 
from the ones they would afterward give. While the 
heat escaping from one gave light the others returning 
might be invisible to us. It is evident that were the sun 
a dark object it would be invisible to us, as would the 
moon without the sun's rays resting upon it. 

May not all light be restored to the sun, and thus 
keep up its supply of heat — as well as vapors be returned 
to ocean — instead of supposing it is caused by contraction ? 
The only sounds that our ears can detect are vibrations 
between 16.5 and 38,000 per second and unquestionably 
all above 38,000, even up to and above those of light, 


would give sound had we the faculties to detect it. Had 
we then the right senses all vibrations below 400 trillions 
or above 800 trillions per second would be visible as well 
as the vibrations that give us light. 

•Though it is difficult to understand, from all the 
materials that we are familiar with, how a fire can burn 
without its substance being consumed, we should remem- 
ber the bush that astonished Moses by burning without 
consuming. As little can we conceive that there is a 
great globe of fire keeping up its flame and heat for 
thousands of years without being diminished. The sun, 
although seeming to us small as a ball, is visible at a 
distance of over 90,000,000 miles. Could we conceive 
of any object, even though a million times larger than 
earth, being seen by us at that distance only from the fact 
that it is thus daily seen, and apparently is the same size 
as when our eyes first rested upon it. Even these visible 
truths are beyond our conception, and knowing that it is 
so we should feel that any truth, however astonishingly 
great, may be possible. 

When we realize that without the sun's heat and light we 
ourselves could not here exist ; that it has power to lift the 
waters that are unfit for man's use and restore them again 
in a purified state ; and power to produce food for him 
both in the animal and vegetable kingdom, the truth is 
not lessened. Were the sun nearer the earth or farther 
away all life would here be destroyed; and should any one 
of all the suns in space vary the least in its orbit it would 
be the destruction of earth. Yet as far as we have 


learned no sun has ever come within twenty trillions of 
miles to interfere with our globe, and from all the above 
facts we may well believe there are truths concerning the 
sun's light and heat that we do not yet understand. 

That the ocean keeps up its supply of radiation, and as 
far as we see never diminishes ; that the heat from volca- 
noes and all other fires of earth does not escape from earth's 
hold, but is returned in new forms to be used again ; leads 
us to question whether earth's heat passes beyond its own 
atmosphere. The heat of our great solar light may like- 
wise be equal to that of Adam's day and continue thus 
unwasted until the end of time, or until its great Author 
sees fit to change it. 

While astronomers tell us that the diminution of the 
sun's diameter yo",o"o o" P^^^ would liberate heat enough to 
supply its current expenditure for about 2,000 years, they 
have also shown that it could be supplied by the friction 
meteors would cause by rushing into the sun ; provided 
that the number falling into it in one year equalled the 
moon's volume.^ We can know little of the number there 
may be, for only that they occasionally fall into our atmos- 
phere and are instantly burned, we should not know of 
their existence. But it is said that every Ty7^ years we pass 
through a shoal of them 100,000 miles broad, and many 
thousand times greater in length, and that it has been thus 
for centuries. Prof. Newton estimates the average num- 
ber of meteors that traverse our atmosphere daily, large 

I Ball, "In starry Realms," p. 21. 


enough to be visible to the eye on a dark night, is 7,500,000. 
With the telescope-meteors added, the number is increased 
to 400 millions. As the sun is more than a million times 
the size of the earth should the number falling into it be 
increased at the same rate it might reach 150 quadrillions 
daily, 170,000 falling on every square mile of the sun's sur- 

Again ; it is stated by Sir Robert Ball that a body of a 
pound's weight falling from a great distance into the sun, 
might, in the course of its friction through the sun's atmos- 
phere, generate as much heat as would be produced by the 
combustion of many times its own weight of coal, if con- 
sumed under the most favorable circumstances. Is 
there sufficient evidence yet given to prove that this 
is not a source of the sun's light and heat instead of con- 
traction ? The moon, we will say, contains 5,000 millions 
of cubic miles. If the sun's radius was 100 millions of 
miles, or extended as far as earth, it would have a surface 
of 120,000 trillions of square miles. Place the earth on its 
surface and it would occupy less than 1,000 millionth of 
that surface, allowing it to settle into it one-half. The 
moon's volume if spread over earth's surface would cover 
it but twenty-five miles deep. If then, the same quantity 
of material were spread over the sun while reaching out to 
earth it would be covered by it less than ^^^^ of an inch in 
depth ; so thinly, in fact that an apple-skin would be thick 
in comparison. Are we prepared to say this amount does 
not actually accumulate year by year on the surface of 
earth, for we are told : " The world is thus pelted on all 


sides day and night, year after year, century after century, 
by troops and battallions of shooting stars of every size, 
from objects not much larger than grains of sand up to 
mighty masses which can only be expressed in tons. In 
the lapse of ages our globe must thus be gradually grow- 
ing by the everlasting deposit of meteoric debris. Look- 
ing back through the vista of time past, it becomes impos- 
sible to estimate how much of the solid earth may not owe 
its origin to this celestial source."^ 

But as the suri does not extend out to earth let us see 
how deeply the moon's volume would cover a globe one 
million miles in diameter having a surface of three trillions 
of square miles. Spread the moon's volume upon this and 
we find it would cover the sun about nine feet deep. This 
being for one year it would be only at the rate of nine in- 
ches per month, or one-third of an inch per day. Snow 
would cover earth to that depth in half an hour, while a 
mist or dew could cover it in about twenty-four hours. 
Thus a constant deposit of meteoric dust even like dew 
would give to the sun a volume equal to the moon's in 
about one year. With these facts before us let us notice 
what is actually observed about the sun's corona, so plainly 
seen when the sun is totally eclipsed ; for can that corona 
be less than the dew that falls upon earth if it is thus vis- 
ible at a distance of more than ninety millions of miles ? 
We are told, "The corona is a vast shell of unknown 
vapors in a highly attenuated state many thousands of 

I Ball, " In Starry Realms," p. 230. 


miles thick, and observed to extend at least one-half a 
degree from what is ordinarily taken to be the visible edge 
of the sun." Is it, then, too much to believe it is helping 
to keep up the light and heat of the sun ? It is further 
asserted that its depth is nearly 100,000 miles and "con- 
sists of reflected light, sent to us from dust particles or 
meteroids giving new densities and rarities that cause the 
changeful light. Whether they are there by constant 
projection, and, fall again to the sun, or are held by elec- 
tric influence, or by force of orbital revolution, we do not 

The same author quotes from Professor Pierce : " The 
heat which the earth receives directly from meteors is the 
same in amount which it receives from the sun by radia- 
tion, and that the sun receives five-sixths of its heat from 
the meteors that fall upon it." Prof. Langley has stated 
that no more than half the sun's radiant force reaches 
earth, the remainder being absorbed by the atmosphere 
and dust which floats it ; and that much of the absorption 
must be accomplished by the cosmic matter existing be- 
yond the atmosphere, while that matter must be more 
accumulative in the neighborhood of the sun. Is it not 
reasonable then, to suppose that the meteoric, or cosmic 
dust, falling into the sun is equivalent to a dew that 
would cover it one-third of an inch in 24 hours ; for why 
should not the sun attract this little amount of matter 
when it has power to draw worlds eighty times larger 

I Warren, " Recreations in Astronomy," p. 82. 


than earth and nearly 3,000 million miles distant ? 
Astronomers do not question the power of this attraction, 
then if the sun can draw in one meteor may it not easily 
draw all that are needed to supply its heat ? for the 
earth's orbit around the sun is like a thread. In that 
orbit it passes swarms of meteors, and thus of the number 
that may exist in the vast circumference about our sun 
we have little real knowledge. 

If it is true that earth receives but a portion of the 
fearful hydrogen heat that flames in the sun's photos- 
phere, one-half being restrained that it does not reach the 
earth, may not the rest as easily be withheld in the far dis- 
tant space and lie within the sun's power of gravitation ? 

While the sun is the light and heat of earth and all the 
planets and their satellites, — as a mother caring for her 
children,- may not all these planets, with their atmos- 
pheres and powers of gravitation, help return to her what 
she so freely bestows upon them ? Is it more difficult to 
believe this than that we are daily using heat stored for 
ages in earth by this same wondrous sun whose light and 
heat, if more or less, would work the destruction of man ? 

When we think of the hundreds of millions of years ago 
that Saturn and Jupiter were a portion of the sun's body 
we should, according to the nebular theory, expect that 
those bodies would long since have cooled. But if Saturn 
is to-day a hot, gaseous body of not one-thousandth part 
the sun's mass, nor of an equal density with it, how 
does it happen that it is not cold ? As astronomers 
cannot tell the years it may continue thus hot possibly 


there may be something about light and heat that 
is not yet understood ? We are told by Dr. Huggins : 
" The green coronal line has no known representative 
in terrestrial substances, nor has Schuster been able to 
recognize any of our elements in the other lines of 
the corona." 

It has been said that " the sun cannot shine forever ; " 
why not? Let us imagine two persons in a room making 
an agreement that thereafter but one of them shall be in 
the room at the same time, for as one enters it the other 
will immediately leave. This they might agree to do 
every hour, day, year, or millions of years even, could 
they exist here, and thus keep it up forever. Likewise if 
the sun's rays in some manner keep returning to the sun, 
they may exist forever. P'or if true that "a particle trav- 
eling in a straight line with uniform speed in the same 
direction is never able to get beyond a certain limited dis 
tance from the original position, to which it will every now 
and then return," let us apply the theory to a ray of light 
and see what the result will be. One would think that a 
ray of light moving through a cold space would certainly 
cool in one minute, but we find that such is not the case ; 
for this ray of light is the same when it reaches earth as 
when it started upon its journey. The eighth minute it 
moved as fast and was identically the same as when first 
projected from the sun. Thus it ever remains flying through 
space at the rate of ii millions of miles each minute, keep- 
ing the same speed as long as it can be detected by human 
invention, and on reaching the sun, its starting point, it 


must be the same in light, heat, and energy as when it 
left, — be that time hundreds, thousands, or millions of 
years, — and is ready to repeat its voyage forever ; why 
not ? If for every ray of light that goes out from the 
sun the same number enters, this process must forever 
keep the sun supplied. Is it not true of the waters of 
the Niagara Falls that no more flows down its stream 
than has already ascended to the clouds in vapor, then 
may it not be equally true of the sun's light and heat ? 

The gravitation that applies to bodies may also apply 
to light, and give to it as much greater an orbit than that 
of comets as comets have greater than that of the planets. 
Though light may have a vastly greater ellipse it may 
in the end return to the sun which projects it, to be again 
projected. When we think of the molecules in space that 
everywhere seem to possess the same properties, and the 
vastness of that space, we are ready to conceive that light 
may have the same unending properties. 

Again, in reference to the stars burning out, or growing 
old — as is believed by some to be the case with our own 
sun and other suns in space, because of their varied 
colors and appearances — the following thoughts may be 
suggested. At times our sun seems to have dark spots 
upon its surface, while in other places great prominences 
are observed. This being the case who believes that every- 
where the sun emits the same light and heat; and if 
not what must be the effect at our distance from the sun 
whether a dark spot, or a great projection of flaming 
hydrogen is directly before us ? Let us imagine a 


sphere, with the sun for its centre, that has a radius 
reaching out a little way beyond earth, and a surface that 
might contain 1200 millions of bodies like our earth. Sup- 
posing earth to occupy, in turn, each of these 1200 millions 
of places we cannot believe the sun to have the same 
appearance from each of them. We are told by Prof. 
Ball that masses of vapor are frequently expelled from the 
interior of the sun with a speed of from 300 to nearly t,ooo 
miles a second, although the fact would hardly be credible 
only that the spectroscope enables the observer to actually 
witness the ascent of these solar prominences at a distance 
of more than ninety millions of miles. Now from these 
facts would one suppose that the sun could appear the 
same when viewed from each of those 1,200 millions of 
places ? 

When observed from a position directly facing the dark 
spots the sun would seem very different from the same 
body viewed from a place facing the solar heights whose 
streams of fire were moving toward one at the rate of 
from 500 to 1,000 miles per second. Or let us form a 
sphere with the next nearest sun. Alpha Centauri, as its 
centre, and a radius of ten trillions of miles. In such a 
sphere we might place 1,210 quadrillions of earths. Who 
believes, that were that number of bodies of earth's size 
placed about the star Alpha Centauri, to each of them it 
would appear alike, especially if it were like our sun with 
dark spots and prominences upon its surface ? It would 
seem that the light received from it might be so variable 
that different ages would be attributed to the sun, accord- 


ing to the position from which it was observed. Our 
own sun when seen from different points of the earth's 
surface — as, for instance, from the arctic region or torrid 
zone — does not look to us exactly the same. A very- 
little change in the atmosphere affects the appearance 
of the sun as we daily view it, and the pictures of the 
corona taken at different places — or even at the same 
place with different instruments — are found on careful 
examination to present quite different appearances. 

Once again, assume the sun's diameter to be one million 
of miles with a surface of three trillions of square miles 
which if two miles in depth would have twice that number 
of cubic miles, i. e., six trillions of cubic miles. Imagine 
then a sphere with a radius of three billions of miles from 
the sun's centre, that is one reaching beyond the planet 
Neptune, and we have a sphere containing 108 octillions 
of cubic miles in volume, which divided by six trillions 
gives us 18,000 trillions of centuries, providing the mass 
has contracted six trillions of cubic miles each century. 
It might be said that when the sun had 6,000 millions of 
miles for its diameter it would have contracted more than 
six trillions of miles a century ; but we must remember 
that it is a law of spherical, gaseous volumes that they 
revolve swifter and swifter, and grow hotter and hotter as 
they contract. Hence, the sun to-day being smaller is 
revolving more rapidly and contracting faster than ever 
before ; though it is not detected by us. As its diameter 
and volume must have been larger when it contracted more 
slowly its decrease could not have been more rapid, if as 


rapid as now, and at the rate of no more than six trillions 
of miles each century. If this be true we cannot have 
over estimated the number of centuries that the sun has 
been contracting. Then from these suppositions if the 
sun's energy has not waned in all these 18,000 trillions of 
centuries, it seems probable that the Power that has 
caused it to glow thus long may continue to give to it an 
energy that shall flow on with unabated strength through- 
out the coming ages. 

As the idea of the burning-out of the sun is based upon 
the theory that the sun formerly was larger than now and 
has been reduced to its present size by contraction — 
although we can in no manner detect that change — the 
theory may still be questionable. It seems more agree- 
able to believe there will be no limit to the sun's bright 
radiance. Its unbounded flow of light througout all the 
years of past time should give us assurance (until there 
is certain evidence to the contrary) that it is as capable of 
existence, and as able to resist the inroads of time, as the 
water in our oceans, the earth upon which we live, the air 
surrounding earth, and the ether above ; all of which we 
feel exist and are preserved by the Powerful Hand and 
All-Seeing Eye of an Almighty Creator. It really matters 
little to us whether or not the sun is burning-out, for we 
could live, did that Creator so order, as well without as 
with it. There are creatures better adapted to the arctic 
seas than to the waters of the torrid zone ; there are others 
that provide not for themselves but lie dormant through 
the cold winter months ; there are birds and animals that 


see by night as well as by day ; and our sight could as 
easily be adjusted for vision in one vibration per second 
as to make it dependent on 400 trillions of vibrations. 

Still our natures are such that what would be harmful 
in our present state we prefer should not happen even in 
the years to come ; and so continue to believe in the sun's 
endurance, although there may be some things that give 
credence to the idea that destruction will come to it in 
the future. We can understand that one ignorant of 
vaporization might sit at the foot of Niagara Falls and 
say, " Surely there cannot be water above to supply much 
longer this enormous, swiftly-flowing volume." In a like 
manner we are unable with the sun 90,000,000 miles 
distant, to detect any diminution of its light or heat ; and 
judging only of the condition it was in 2,000 years ago 
by its power of gravitation, and its hold upon the planet- 
worlds — as evidenced by the transits of Venus and the 
eclipses^— we are led to believe that, wise as men are, 
they do not yet fully comprehend all the laws relating to 
this wonderful Solar Energy. 



We are told by Prof. Ball that such is the translucency 
of nebulae one might think to be able to see through 
them the stars lying in the back-ground, were they in the 
right position for observation. If nebulae are thus trans- 
lucent it does not seem possible that they can be composed 
of the same materials as the planets of the solar system, 
whose densities are generally so great. For were the 
whole of earth's substance spread out to one-hundreth of 
an inch in thickness we can not believe it would be 
sufficiently clear to allow light to penetrate it to any great 
extent, as earth has a density that leads one to think it is 
centrally composed almost — if not wholly — of iron, lead, 
gold, or like weighty elements that seemingly would never 
be transparent however highly heated and expanded. But 
if the nebulae are similar to the planets in their substances 
they must then consist of enormous masses of luminous, 
heated matter in a highly diffused state, in order to be 
perceptible to us at so great a distance ; and how can they 
be translucent if the coloring matter is retained to darken 
the gases that are in combustion ? Material similar to 
that of earth, if highly diffused and placed in an element 
300° below zero, would cool almost immediately ; and 
whether luminous or not would be likely to obstruct our 
view of all stars lying behind it, 


We are told again by the same writer that doubtless 
there are hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dark 
bodies to each luminous one in space. But it has not 
been shown that these dark bodies ever needed to have 
been luminous in their formation, neither is it improbable 
that non-luminous matter, — even if once highly diffused, 
and spread out in the heavens as our sun is supposed 
once to have been diffused, — should have formed into 
these dark, spherical bodies in some manner similar to 
the condensation of vapor into clouds. If this be true the 
presumption is that the dark bodies are hiding many 
bright stars from our sight. It is not possible, then, to 
conceive that the many stars thus hidden — or partially 
hidden — may, like our sun when totally eclipsed, give a 
corona-like glow ? Our own sun's corona flames out in 
every direction for more than 200 thousand miles, and 
should there be many suns eclipsed by the dark bodies in 
space might they not likewise, in some instances, present 
a nebulous appearance with a startlmg coronal effect ? 
Theta Orionis, the wondrous multiple star, seemingly 
lying in Orion's great nebula, is regarded as belonging to 
it because of its being in the same degree of the heavens ; 
but although in the same degree it may be in quite a 
different plane, as light travels at the rate of over eleven 
millions of miles per minute. If this nebula is unresolv- 
able stars then the light from it may be millions of years 
in reaching us, while from Theta Orionis, if it lies in the 
foreground, the light might reach us possibly in one 
hundred years, — according to the distance it is removed 


from earth. The probabilities are that the multiple star 
lies nearest the earth, for if the nebula is composed of 
material similar to earth, we could not think at such a 
distance to be able to see through a single foot, or even 
inch, of its substance. There are about 5,000 stars visible 
to the naked eye in both the northern and southern 
hemispheres, but only about one-third of that number are 
visible at any one time. Few people are able to see two 
thousand of them on the clearest night, while many do 
not see one thousand, because of their inability to detect 
those of the sixth magnitude. The Milky-Way, therefoi"e, 
is quite like a great nebula to man's unaided vision. At 
each increase of photographic and telescopic power new 
stars are observed, until it is now said that 100 millions may 
be visible by their aid. If all these knowable stars are no 
more to space than a drop of water is to the Atlantic 
ocean, as the above writer has said, it is not in the least 
surprising that we see a great number of nebulae. This 
we must ever expect, even though our telescopes be 
increased a millionfold m power. In fact it would be 
most surprising if unresolvable nebulae did not forever 
appear in space as often as instruments of increasing 
penetration should be brought into positions to examine 
them. If space, like our oceans and our atmosphere, 
should be subordinate to something greater that we have 
never seen, and have no prospect of seeing in our present 
state, we can form concerning it no adequate conception. 

To obtain an impression of the greatness of the nebulae 
in the heavens let us discord every instrument as though 


there were none, and upon some clear, moonless night 
stand gazing into the starry heavens. It might seem as 
though we were looking at millions of stars, but we should 
find by counting that the distinct points of light were 
only about one thousand. Imagine our sight to increase 
so that we beheld two thousand stars, then four thousand, 
eight thousand, and so on until finally, with our sight 
increased a thousand-fold, we were able to see one hundred 
millions of stars, the number that may be seen with the 
most powerful instruments. What we beheld as nebulae 
when we saw but one thousand distinct stars would thus 
be resolved into shining suns with sufficient increase of 
power. Then is it not a fair supposition that — if our 
sight were adapted to the beholding — we should be able 
to detect not only one hundred millions of stars, but 
myriads of them ? 

Again, when we think of the irregular shapes that many 
of the nebulae have, can we believe that they are rotating 
like the sun and planets? for we look to spherical bodies 
for revolution. We know there are many peculiar-shaped 
nebulae emitting light and heat, yet that light and heat 
may in nowise be produced by their swift revolutions, and 
we cannot think of them as undergoing a change such as 
we would expect from the nebular theory of world-forma- 

In reference to the nebula in the Sword's-handle of Orion, 
which contains matter sufficient to form two thousand and 
two hundred trillions of suns like our own ; if this'matter 
is of any density — or if not, even — it would seemingly cool 


almost instantly in an element 300° below zero. In truth 
how could it have become heated unless composed of some 
combustible element, like hydrogen, that would spring of 
itself into a mass of flame with an energy, — if there is con- 
servation of energy, — that would exist for ever, and might 
repeat its work over and over again as do the oceans of 
our earth ? There is no evidence, as far as we have ascer- 
tained, that this nebula rotates ; nor can we believe that 
its luminosity is caused by swift revolution when our own 
sun, less than one million of miles in diameter, rotates but 
once in twenty-five days and is now moving swifter, accord- 
ing to the laws of mechanics appertaining to spherical, 
vaporous bodies, than ever before. 

Even scientists and philosophers cannot tell us of the 
formation of a grass-seed, from which springs life identical 
with Its kind ; neither can they detect with the best micro- 
scope any difference between the varied forms of matter 
in the first stages of inception, nor feel sure whether there 
will be developed therefrom a tree, a dog, an elephant, or 
a man. For two hundred years spontaneous combustion has 
been discussed, some finding from an infusion of hay that 
life appeared ; but when the idea was supposed to have 
been proved it was discovered that life was in air^ and 
with the life-germs taken from it no spontaneous genera- 
tion would arise. Later it was found that bacteriae would 
exist in great heat, and from that fact biogenesis was thought 
proved ; for life only could come from life. We remember 
also that for years the famous Bodes Law was considered 
fully established, until upon the discovery of planet Nep- 


tune it was found to be so far out of position that the law 
was no longer applicable to the distribution of the planets 
of the solar system. Remembering all these changes after 
science considered the theories well established, we believe 
there are things to-day about nebulae, even, that conflict 
with the hypothesis under consideration ; as, for instance 
the irregular shape they often assume, and the fact that 
many have already been resolved into stars with the aid 
of sufficiently powerful instruments. 




To understand how our powers are limited let us take 
the following illustrations. We see a horse of great fleet- 
ness, power, and intelligence, with a barn before him all 
his life ; and yet unable to build one though he well knows 
it will protect him from the winds, cold, and rain. We 
likewise see man with grass-seed, grains of sand and oceans 
of water before him, and floods of air above ; unable to 
make a particle of any of these, no matter how much he 
needs soil to stand on, water to quench his thirst, or air to 
breathe. His powers are limited ; he cannot live in ocean, 
sail the air, or even penetrate the earth to any great depth. 
There are barriers against him, and although he has in- 
vented wondrous ships, they do not yet take him to the 
North or South Poles. Not that he does not know where 
the Poles are upon the earth's surface, but he seems thus far 
utterly unable to pass the surrounding barriers. May not 
these very barriers be protecting some creatures that other- 
wise might be exposed to injury or extermination ? for we 
see how living things are protected, oftentimes, by their 
diminutive size so that animals of greater power and size 
cannot enter their homes to harm them ; or the weaker 
ones have a fleetness given to them whereby they escape 
in time of danger. 


We find man endowed with such reason and wisdom that 
occasionally he discovers keys unlocking the mysteries 
of creation ; these have already opened to our view, the 
" ancient sunlight," and developed steam, electricity, and 
other of the natural forces for man's benefit. Suppose 
that George Washington had awakened after but a night's 
sleep and been told that King George of England desired 
to speak with him. Would not the astonished General 
have asked : " What has become of the Atlantic ocean that 
I am expected to talk with King George without go- 
ing to London to meet him !" That which would have in- 
extricably puzzled the Great Commander-in-Chief is to-day 
scarcely thought of as mysterious, and we may believe that 
many like mysteries will yet yield to man's remarkable in- 
telligence. On this great earth with its 270,000 millions 
of cubic miles, with its oceans of water and the ocean of 
air surrounding it, and with the enormous amount of light 
and heat falling upon it from the sun, we see life enough 
to lead us to know assuredly there must be oceans of life 
of which we at present know nothing. Take, for instance, 
any field or garden and extend it however far you please — 
even to cover the whole earth if you will — and with but a 
single grass-seed you can cover the whole earth with that 
particular kind of grass ; — assuming that it has the neces- 
sary light, heat, and moisture to make it grow and increase. 
We know there is light and heat in abundance, for enough 
falls upon the torrid zone alone to give to the whole earth 
a moderate temperature, if equally diffused. We know, 
further, that this single grass-seed is not the life but sim- 


ply the key that will unlock any quantities of life. What 
is true of the seed is true also of every variety of vegeta- 
ble and animal life. The present ocean and earth are in- 
visible to one born blind, and as little do we see the oceans 
of life about us. Knowing as we must that such life ex- 
ists let us look for the fire-mist of life, a few particles of 
which are familiar to us. We reason from the life we now 
see that it can be extended ; then let us extend it, as the 
fire-mist of our planetary system, to Neptune's bounds, 
reasoning in the same manner from the least to the greatest. 
If we do not choose to use one cycle of time we may take 
millions of them, as in the cooling fire-mist theory ; but 
we must not forget that the life we know is only on the 
crust of earth and goes back but a few thousand years. If 
earth is the same material as the sun and it takes, as we 
have stated, two million earths to make one sun of a mil- 
lion miles diameter, with no limit to the number of such 
suns ; we can readily understand, from what we know of 
life here, that there may exist other great and wonderful 
beings beyond our highest apprehension. 

We are limited in sight, for we cannot see but a few 
miles through the clearest atmosphere. The mountains at 
no great distance take on a cloud-like appearance, and re- 
semble more nearly the surrounding sky than the great 
heights of rock and earth they are found to be when viewed 
near at hand. When we endeavor to look beneath us and 
find that we cannot gaze for a smgle foot into the earth ; 
and that gold and diamonds might lie six inches under- 
neath our feet and we not be able to observe them, we 


understand how greatly our vision is limited. Electric 
currents pass over the many wires strung throughout our 
cities, and our sight is so limited that though we look long 
and intensely we are not able to detect that electricity. 
The life in all animals and vegetation is also impercepti- 
ble to us, for we only know of its existence from the move- 
ments and appearances of bodies that possess life, as com- 
pared with those that do not possess it. There are many 
qualities of life — as love, goodness, virtue, hate, jealousy, 
and revenge — that are as dissimilar as fire and water, or 
darkness and light ; and could we behold them they would 
assume shapes differing as greatly as globes, squares, and 
triangles differ. 

Still, what we most long to see are the spirits of our 
loved ones as they depart from this mortal life and 
ascend into the presence of their Creator ; but look as 
long as we will, with all the faculties we possess, we 
must at last fall back upon the assurance that our faith 
in the Word of God lays hold of for our comfort and con- 
solation. Though w^e there learn that '' Enoch walked 
with God and was not, for God took him ;" that Elijah 
went up by a whirlwind into Heaven ; that Moses and Elias 
were revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration ; and that 
Jesus after his resurrection v/as seen by His followers for 
forty days ; yet the human beings 7ue know and love must 
leave their bodies behind them as they wing their flight to 
worlds beyond, and our sight is so limited that we cannot 
perceive the souls even of our own life and being after 
they have left their home in the flesh. In the same man- 


ner we should know nothing of the depths of space only 
for the light that comes from stars removed an inconceiv- 
able distance ; for of this fact we are assured by astrono- 
mers, and we should never dream that we looked a thous- 
and miles into the heavens only for those outside worlds 
that give to us, through their magnitudes and distances, a 
faint conception of the Infinite Greatness. 



The theory of the formation of worlds from Nebulae is 
not only endorsed by Sir Robert Ball but he states his 
belief that the same theory is carried out upon earth in 
the formation of life according to the plan of Darwin. 
To quote his words, Darwin ''has shown that the evolution 
of the lifeless earth from nebulae is but the prelude of an 
organic evolution of still greater interest and complexity," 
And further : " Can it be possible that the wondrous and 
complex phenomena known as life are purely material ? 
Can a particle of matter which consists only of a definite 
number of atoms of definite chemical composition manifest 
any of those characters which characterize life ? Take as 
an extreme instance the brain of an ant which is not 
larger than a quarter of a good-sized pin's head. It 
would require a volume to describe what we know of the 
power of ants." The following are among the wonderful 
things mentioned of their faculities. They communicate 
information to each other, build great edifices, make roads, 
tunnel under rivers and make temporary bridges over 
them by clinging together, store seeds, keep aphides as 
milch cows, go out to battle, and capture slaves ; showing 
thereby a wonderful amount of power when we remember 
that the ant's brain is said to be but a little globule one- 


thousandth of an inch in diameter. From the above we 
learn that the ant with a brain no larger than a quarter of 
a pin's head is one of the most wondrous things in the 
world of life. 

Let us conceive of such an ant standing before St. 
Peter's Cathedral at Rome and asking of his species: 
"Who made that great building?" We may anticipate 
the reply, "We do not know." Hear him ask again the 
question of all birds, insects, reptiles, and animals and 
receive the same answer, "We do not know." Let him 
ask it at last of man who replies, " I well know who made 
it." Encouraged he asks again, "Did you make it," but 
the answer comes quickly, "No." Still persistent he asks, 
"Could you make it?" and the answer is "No, it is not 
every man that could make such a building and surmount 
it with so wondrous a dome." " Once again he asks : " But 
if you did not, and could not make it, how do you know 
the builder of it ? " He receives the answer : " I know as 
well as though I myself had done it. I have brain-power 
enough to know ^vho planned it but it required one with 
a greater brain, even- Michael Angelo, to conceive and 
build it." 

We have here seen the power of a brain smaller than 
a pin's head ; the additional power of one a few inches in 
diameter that could kno7v the constructor of the great 
buildin-j, and yet be unable to make it ; and the further 
increase of brain-power in the maker of that magnificent 
Cathedral. Yet the brain of Michael Angelo, so many 
times larger than the ants, is not enough for our purpose. 


We would find one large enough to know how the ant's 
brain was formed and who formed it. Finding the brain 
knowing that, we would continue our queries until we 
found one a foot in size, a mile, earth's size if you will, 
and finding that might learn what we would know of the 
creation of the nebulae of worlds and life ; for to that 
brain we owe all that we possess here and may ever expect 
to possess. 

We have been told of the wonderful instinct displayed 
by an ant, and yet we may not suppose, were an ant 
possessed of the power of speech, it could ever make 
observations like the above. We can conceive of a 
creature that possessed many times the ant's brain-power 
making the inquiry, " How came this great structure ? " 
and, asking it of a comrade that possessed the same 
powers as he, receiving the reply, ''I do not know." We 
may think of him as pushing the inquiry and receiving 
the answer from some that it had no author, but must 
have grown like the trees from nothingness ; from others 
the conjecture that it was made by some great animal of 
sea or land ; or again that it was made by a creature 
called man. We can believe that whatever their opinion 
might be it would matter little to Michael Angelo the 
author. In the vastness of the universe and the wonderful 
mysteries enveloping it ; with the telescopes, spectroscopes, 
and other powerful instruments ; with all the observations 
of centuries, and theories concerning earth's first cause ; 
man is yet like the ant before St. Peter's. There is truth 
in the statement, " The Theory of Evolution may be true 


or it may be false it is still but an attempt to guess at a 
process ; it does not touch the author of that process and 
never will." * 

To resolve, then, the mystery of the universe we believe 
that a great stride would be made could we find a being 
with wisdom like to man's, but possessing power to create 
a fire-mist such as is conceived in the Nebular Hypothesis. 
Finding such a being we should never for a moment think, 
from what we know of dead matter, of its resolving itself 
into the order and system displayed in the universe, but 
unhesitatingly ascribe its formation to a being possessing 
such wisdom and power. Starting then with the theory 
that a Being with the intellect of man, but omnipotent 
power, could produce all that is now unintelligible to us ; 
let us contemplate the appearance of His works and what 
we do not understand believe that He will unfold as our 
powers increase and as science develops. 

The Revealed Word, the Great Astronomy, tells us that 
this Being is God and ascribes to Him the creation of the 
heavens, worlds, man, and life in all its forms. We can 
appreciate the astounding facts described in other works, 
and can we not feel the truths revealed in this ? We meet 
people who believe this Revelation, perhaps doubtfully at 
first, but after study of the Word, or from hearing it ex- 
plained, the truth becomes manifest to them ; and what is 
remarkable and worthy of our contemplation is the fact 
that not one of the many millions who heed that Word, 

* Chambers, "Hand Book of Astronomy," preface page 9. 


and live lives faithful to it, but will tell us ere they die 
that they do not regret the choice they have made and only 
wish that they had accepted its truths sooner. 

The presumption is that if every human being would 
accept the fact thai he owes his being to an Almighty God 
not one would ever regret it more than they who have 
already accepted the belief. Sooner or later all men are 
cast into the great fire-mist of Eternity, but ere they go 
hence accept or refuse a belief that may affect them 
throughout eternity. Many men are urging people to 
accept of the Salvation offered in the Bible, and the spirit 
within man feels the wisdom of such an acceptance. Men 
of thought see from their own anatomy that there must be 
a Being greater than themselves to have formed so won- 
drous a body, or even to have formed one of the smallest, 
as a grass-seed or animalcule. Why then should men need 
urging to make God their choice? Suppose we were sud- 
denly cast upon a billowy sea but near us lay a life-boat, 
which if we laid hold upon the chances were, in nine cases 
out of ten, we should be saved. Would we hesitate a 
moment before making our choice ? Desire for life would 
compel us to grasp the boat. Suppose, further, there was 
but one chance out of ten that if we entered the boat we 
should be saved, would we not instinctively make sure of 
that one chance, knowing if it were worthless we could be 
no worse off than floundering without it in the bottomless 

But can we look at creation, even without this Re- 
vealed Word, and say there is no evidence of a chance for 


a future life ? It is few years that man lives upon earth, 
and those years can be but a breath to eternity ; for 
we cannot suppose all the atoms in space will equal the 
years of eternity. As dying men, then, shall we live again ? 
It is no more wonderful to believe in a new life than to 
believe that the combinations of our bodies are never 
destroyed, but are resolved again to atoms and molecules. 
It is no more mysterious than that the waters rise from 
oceans to the clouds only to return again, and repeat the 
process from year to year ; no stranger than that earth 
wheels through space at the rate of nearly two millions of 
miles daily, without losing a drop of the waters that cover 
three-fourths of its surface ; no more wonderful than the 
air that is composed of four-fifths nitrogen, and were the 
other fifth the same no life could exist ; no more wonder- 
ful than that the sun at its great distance, holds earth as 
firmly by the invisible ether, as if it were an iron cord ; 
and no more wonderful than that in earth's yearly voyage 
about the sun, and in the daily turning upon its axis, we 
do not detect the slightest jar or movement. Neither is it 
as mysterious as that time has no destructivness upon earth, 
water, light, air, and ether, which are seemingly eternal 
elements ; and though our spirits are imperceptible while 
living here, so are also some of the known energies of 
nature. Magnetism, that day and night, on sea or land, 
directs and holds the magnetic needle to the north, reveals 
its certain existence to us, although invisible to any faculty 
we possess ; electrcity and the gases, of which earth, air, 
and ocean are mainly composed, are invisible as well as 


indestructible ; ether, filling the immensity of space, is 
impervious to time ; and each atom of it has energy to 
transmit light from every sun in space, whether near or 
distant, without varying a second per day, thereby enabling 
astronomers to predict future occurrences with perfect as- 
surance for hundreds of years. 

It is no more wonderful to believe in a future life than 
to believe there are millions of animalculae in a drop of 
water ; nor as mysterious as that our bodies are constantly 
changing their forms. The man of years has possessed 
many bodies that he has unconsciously cast aside, and in 
old age has no more the body of infancy, childhood, youth, 
and manhood than he has the body of another person. 
Yet we see man clinging to his toothless, hairless, blinded, 
deaf, and decrepit form while leaning upon a staff for sup- 
port, as though he could not live if separated therefrom \ 
and why not as well lay aside wholly the earthly body for 
the heavenly ? Nearly the whole universe is eternal, and 
our invisible spirits should be no more incomprehensible to 
us than are the universal elements and energies of nature. 

It is our first living, our living now, that is wonderful and 
mysterious ; for we find of every invention of man, the first 
invented one of its kind is the one most wondrous. 
Then with all this great universe around us shall we not 
live again? Are we so blinded that we see no chance of 
living without these bodies, when we possess faculties 
fitted for the contemplation of an Eternal Universe, 
although not the power of fully understanding its signifi- 
cance ? 


When we think of ourselves, our earth, and the sun more 
than a million times larger, and the size that it assumes at 
a distance of ninety millions of miles, while we receive but 
-g-gVo^ millionth of its light and heat ; when we think of the 
millions of suns equally great, but all, taken together, 
no more than a leaf in a great forest compared with the 
universe that embraces myriads of suns and systems ; when 
we think again of the great nebulae, and all that may be 
within their range, and beyond them ; we can but believe 
there is a God over all who may do infinitely more for us, 
His creatures, than all others can do, and in the eternity 
to come, prove our best and dearest friend. 

It may be asked in this widespread universe, will He 
recognize earth or us ? Yet we must remember there is 
evidence of the same formative Hand alike in each atom 
of air, the countless worlds, and man himself. Then who 
but a mightier Power can do what man can not ? We may 
securely feel that if God made man in his own image, — 
which we are led to believe without the Bible's revelation — 
He can give to him protection, thought, and love. Then 
the chance, or probability — if you do not regard the possi- 
bility or certainty — of living in God's presence for as 
many millions of years as there are atoms in earth, which 
cannot comprehend eternity, are evidenced by what we 
here behold. Should we not live, then, in expectancy and 
hope, our faith grounded on what we behold in our earth, 
sun, and the universe ? 

The works of man are multiple, but among them all, we 
do not find one of chance in its formation. We always 


recognize man's hand and expect no form without a 
maker ; so of the universe. The mighty worlds as well as 
the invisible atoms bear evidence of a Creator, and have 
the same assurance stamped upon them as have the inven- 
tions of man. We should thereby recognize the truth that 
God exists and regulates the vast and countless worlds, the 
tiniest molecule, and man himself. 

Surely, then, in accepting the faith of the Bible there 
can be no loss, while by accepting of it we may stand 
approved by One who created worlds, space, and all life, 
the existence of which is within our vision, but the con- 
templation of which is infinitely beyond our conception. 


003 615 177 8